Company (Wehr, 2011). Edge over competition Since

Company background

Starbucks is a company that is well known for the importation of the best coffee from all over the world. Currently, Starbucks operates in 48 countries with 16,000 stores (Starbucks Corporation, 2011).

History of corporate responsibility in Starbucks

According to Starbucks Coffee Company (2002), Starbucks engages in corporate responsibility at organizational and retail level and environmental matters are included in the company’s mission statement.

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Changing climate

Global warming

Global warming and climate change have been of great importance to Starbucks since these affect the long term sustainability of the production of coffee (Starbucks Corporation, 2011).

Unusual occurrences of natural disasters

Since natural disasters occur unexpectedly, Starbucks strives to carry out CSR in environmental issues so as to attempt to reduce the occurrence of natural disasters which occur as a result of preventable causes.

Farmers and food products suffering

In 2001, the prices of coffee dropped $0.48/lb which was the lowest price recorded over the previous 30 years (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2002). Price drops affect coffee growers the most especially farmers who own small farms which are owned by their families.

Audit of human impact on our environment

CSR enables the corporate world to take note of environmental effects of human activities. Starbucks identified that they can keep track of the effects of their production, manufacturing and distribution activities through a well designed CSR program.

Consequently also audits companies and includes their impact on environment

Since it is not only the activities of Starbucks that leads to environmental degradation, the company also carries out audits for other organizations. Their CSR operations include CSR consultancy services which are offered to other companies.

Consumer Reaction

More prone to buy energy efficient goods

Because of climatic changes and effects such as global warming, consumers became more cautious of the products which they bought. Starbucks has invested in green housing and energy and water conservation strategies which they apply at store level.

Willing to spend more on organic food

Consumers have also become more likely to buy organic foods because there are increased cases of diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, liver problems and obesity which are associated with lack of healthy diets. Starbucks hence seeks to make their coffee as natural as possible through the green initiatives.

Consumers going for environment and socially responsible companies

Consumers have become willing to buy products from companies which are involved in environmentally friendly operations due to anti-globalization protests that emerged (Heal, 2008). This also steered Starbucks to venture into CSR consultancy business.

Government fines and public condemnation towards socially irresponsible companies

To avoid government fines and public condemnation, Starbucks had to take action in regard to their operations since coffee production was associated with deforestation, use of pesticides and waste products from paper production.

II. Benefits to implementing stronger “green initiatives”


1. Regaining lost environmentalist customers

Customers who were previously lost due to concerns about the company being involved in globalization and unethical business practices will also be regained as a result of the deep involvement of Starbucks in green initiatives and the improved PR (Wehr, 2011).

Edge over competition

Since the company is more involved in CSR and environmental conservation than other companies, it stands a better chance of developing presence in areas that are urban or remote.

Investor confidence

The green initiatives ensure that coffee supply for the company’s operations will be sustainable in the long term. This information convinces the general public to invest in Starbucks without having to worry about negative social repercussions.


Heal, G. M. (2008). When principles pay: corporate social responsibility and the bottom line. New York: Columbia Business School Pub

Starbucks Coffee Company. (2002). CSR Fiscal 2001 Report. Retrieved on March 1, 2012 from

Starbucks Corporation. (2011). Starbucks Global Responsibility Report; Goals & Progress 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2012 from

Wehr, K. (2011). Green culture: an A-to-Z guide. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications